- Kristopher Fraser |
New York - While Adidas has been busy making headlines with Kanye West and his Yeezy's, they have also been fighting a legal battle in court over issues of trademark involving the signature stripes on their shoes. However, the case has worked out in their favor.
The Court Justice of the European Union has ruled that Adidas can oppose the trademark registration of parallel stripes on the sports shoes produced by other brands. This case dates back to 2009 when a Belgian company called Shoe Branding Europe filed an application to have a trademark registered for two forward slashes on the sides of their shoes. While the design is starkly different from Adidas's, it would be easy to mistake them for Adidas shoes if you saw them on their own, versus comparing them side-by-side.
When Adidas originally announced they opposed the registration, their case was dismissed on the basis that the designs were noticeably different. However, in May 2015, the General Court sided with Adidas stating that the two forward slashes on Shoe Branding Europe's shoes were not dissimilar enough from Adidas's own design. According to the Court, the stripes were parallel, equidistant, of the same width, contrasted with the base color, and set on the outside of the shoe so the impression was the same.
Yesterday, Wednesday, February 24, The Court of Justice upheld the General Court's decision, so the only sneakers you'll be seeing with stripes on the side will still be Adidas'.
Issues of fashion copyright law have become hot topic in the fashion industry over the past year. Sneaker company Converse still has several pending copyright lawsuits over their Chuck Taylor's. Perhaps this case might help set a global precedent, but in the murky area of fashion copyright law, there is never any way of telling.